The transmission and reception of P. B. Shelley in Owenite and Chartist newspapers and periodicals

Morgan, JA 2014, The transmission and reception of P. B. Shelley in Owenite and Chartist newspapers and periodicals , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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This thesis examines the nature of the relationship between Shelley and the thought, politics, and discursive practices of Owenism and Chartism. Its objects of analysis are Owenite periodicals and Chartist newspapers, which I theorise as active in the process of transmission and reception. This thesis locates the reception and transmission of Shelley’s poetry and politics within the broader context of the movements’ political and social commitments. It makes an original contribution to knowledge by demonstrating that the movements used Shelley’s poetry critically and with discrimination. It also argues that Owenite and Chartist approaches to Shelley changed as the movements developed over time in response to historical pressures. I argue that a cultural materialist approach enables us to reconsider the nature of Shelley’s influence and popularity within these movements, something that has become a critical commonplace. It also allows us to distinguish between Owenite and Chartist ‘Shelleys’. I argue that the Owenite periodicals the Crisis and the New Moral World produced a qualitatively different Shelley from the one that emerged in Chartist newspapers such as the Northern Star. Although there was a degree of overlap between the two movements in terms of social commitments and personnel, the parameters set by the formal qualities and discursive strategies of the movements’ print cultures allowed different Shelleys to emerge within them. In terms of content, the Owenites quoted Shelley’s poetry to support their social theories and the most frequently quoted poems were Queen Mab and The Revolt of Islam. The Chartists also used Queen Mab, but were less interested in a feminist poem like Revolt and more interested in poems that allowed them to articulate class conflict. I account for such differences within my broader argument: that the two movements had qualitatively different conceptions of the possibilities of language and aesthetics, and different approaches to social conflict.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Themes: Media, Digital Technology and the Creative Economy
Memory, Text and Place
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for English Literature and Language
Funders: AHRC
Depositing User: JA Morgan
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2015 11:56
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 13:34

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